Blog Title

Random Thoughts

1. My family and I enjoyed American Idol last night. I was SURPRISED by Sanjaya’s performance. I actually thought it was pretty good. My wife and I were cracking up at the little girl who was crying uncontrollably during Sanjaya’s entire performance. My wife does the same thing when I sing… just kidding :). My favorite guy is Blake. That dude has mad skills. My favorite gal is Melinda. She can sang.

2. This weekend we are continuing our series Legalism Is Not Legal, and my message title this weekend is Who’s Your Daddy. This is going to be a fun message. So many people are going to be set free from the bondage of legalism. Have I mentioned that I HATE LEGALISM?

3. On Easter weekend my message title is Forgiveness. We all need forgiveness. I’m excited for many of your family and friends to experience true forgiveness through Christ. Thank God for His grace and mercy. Get as many of your family and friends to our Easter services. They will enjoy the experience and be able to encounter God’s incredible love.

4. Today is a major study day. I actually studied for a few hours yesterday, so I am ahead of where I usually am on Wednesdays.

5. By the end of the summer, my goal is to be one to two weeks ahead on my message preparation. This will help me mentally and help me on the creative side of my messages. The difference between a good message and a great message is about 5 hours :). All of you communicators know what I’m talking about. It takes 10 to 15, sometimes even up to 20 hours to put together one message. When you calculate the prayer time, the research time, the study time, the think time (in the car, shower, bed, gym), the creative time (videos, illustrations), the working out transition time and the memorizing time (speaking the message to yourself 2 or 3 times), a lot of energy goes into just one message.

6. My wife seems to be feeling better. She’s been fighting off a mean cold or sinuses or something.

Executive Team Meeting

Yesterday was exciting for me. I spent four hours with Josh and Brian. Josh oversees the entire operations of People’s Church and Brian oversees the programming of all of our services (video, lights, music, etc.). We worked through some final Easter details and what our plans are after Easter. We are going to have some cool videos and some special things for Easter. We are beginning a new series on Easter called Dealing With Devastation. There are so many people who are dealing with devastation: death, divorce, adultery, abuse, bankruptcy and the list goes on and on. WE ALL DEAL WITH DEVASTATION! I want people who are dealing with devastation and those who in the future will deal with devastation to know that there is hope and answers in Christ. We are also going to give away an ABSOLUTELY FREE VACATION to a family who has recently dealt with devastation. I’m excited for our church to bless a much needed family with a time of relaxation. We will be giving you more details on the giveaway in the very near future. In the mean time, begin to think about some people you know who have recently been through a devastation and need a vacation.

In our meeting yesterday, we also talked a lot about the future. We are dreaming and talking about how to reach more people for Christ. We talked about the new building we will build next year with the Lord’s help. We talked about what positions we need to hire next to continue to be effective in carrying out the mission and vision of People’s Church. We laughed a lot and had a blast dreaming about all that God has in store for People’s Church. I LOVE THE PEOPLE I WORK WITH! I have a great team. It’s great working with people who have the same vision and who love God and love me. WHAT A TEAM WE HAVE AT PEOPLE’S CHURCH!

Weekend Update

I want to share some things that I noticed this weekend.

1. WE HAD 46 PEOPLE MAKE A DECISION FOR CHRIST! Even on a Spring Break weekend, you all still invited your friends and family to experience the love of God. WAY TO GO!

2. We had a very good attendance, even though we had tons of people away for Spring Break and on the Mexico missions trip. Be praying for our Mexico missions trip team.

3. Our 12PM Sunday service was bigger than our 10:30AM service . This never happens! Thank you for your willingness to switch services to free up seats at our 10:30AM service. I saw some of you that normally attend the 10:30AM service at our Saturday services or at one of the other two Sunday services. Thank you for your passion to reach more people with the good news of Jesus Christ. Because of your willingness to switch services, we will be able to accommodate 2000 on Easter and begin to have 2000 consistently on the weekends in the near future. If at all possible, attend one of our two Saturday services, especially on Easter weekend! THANKS AGAIN! I pastor the greatest people in the world!

4. THE WORSHIP WAS KICKIN’ this weekend! We have a great Worship Team . Brian does an incredible job leading this incredibly talented team. Worship was a home run! Worship Team, thanks for all of your hard work and for your passion for Christ.

5. I heard lots of positive feedback from my message. It’s so easy to buy into the thinking that we have to work to earn God’s love. It’s very freeing to know that God just loves us and that salvation only comes by placing our faith and trust in Christ. Thank you for all of your kind words. I appreciate your encouragement. I can’t wait to speak God’s Word to you this coming weekend. God is going to continue to free people from the bond of legalism! GO GOD!

Friday Thoughts

I woke up this morning, and my mind was racing with thoughts about this weekend’s message. I’m really excited about this message. My title is I Hate Legalism. I hate what it does to Christians. I hate what it does to churches. I hate how it affects the un-churched. Legalism stinks! If you are not very careful, you will find yourself drifting towards legalism and not even know it. Let me give you some signs of legalism: 1. self-righteousness 2. critical of others 3. judgment of others 4. arrogance 5. denominational-focus instead of Kingdom-focus 6. creating division 7. driven by rules. One of the major reasons legalistic people don’t know they are bound by legalism is they are so full of themselves and their own rules and too busy looking down at others that they never look in the mirror. Be sure to take a long look in the mirror to see if you are legalistic. You don’t want to miss this weekend’s message. You will leave inspired to live a life free from legalism. You will also leave saying, “I HATE LEGALISM.”

Today, I’m getting a haircut, working out at the gym, getting a Starbucks and hanging with the family. Cale, my oldest son, wants to go to the park today, but it may be a little chilly for that. If we can’t go to the park today, we will still have a blast hanging out together. We will definitely go out to eat together.

Make it a great Friday!

What I’m Excited About

1. I’m excited about the Legalism Is Not Legal series. There are way too many legalistic Christians! (Get as many people to this series as you can).

2. I’m excited about Easter. We will have over 2000 people in attendance. (INVITE your friends and family).

3. I’m excited that EVERY weekend we see people give their lives to Christ. (EVERY WEEKEND, WOW)!!!!

4. I’m excited about the staff and team that are around me. We have an incredible staff.

5. I’m excited to be a daddy. I wasn’t going to talk about my family, but my little boy just climbed into my lap, laid his head on my chest and said, “Daddy, Daddy.” WOW, THAT’S A COOL FEELING!

6. I’m excited about seeing so many people get connected in a Community Group. Community Groups are the life-line of People’s Church. If you’re not connected yet, get plugged in immediately. It will change your life and relationship with Christ. There’s nothing like doing life together.

7. I’m excited about so many people serving in ministry. You make People’s Church such an incredible place by using your gifts to serve others. YOU AMAZE ME with your passion to reach, care for and love people.

8. I’m excited that many people over the last 6 months have been through Starting Point. So many new Christians are excited about knowing and growing in their relationship with Christ. WAY TO GO!

9. I’m excited that we are a diverse church. I love coming to church and seeing so many different skin colors, ages, backgrounds and denominations worshiping Christ together. There is diversity and unity at the same time. GO GOD AND GO PEOPLE’S CHURCH!

10. I’m SO SO SO excited about the future. The best is yet to come! We haven’t seen anything yet. We are just scraping the surface of what God is going to do through People’s Church. We are going to reach thousands of people for Christ. WE WILL BE A FAST GROWING CHURCH! PEOPLE NEED THE LORD BIG TIME!

Back In The Saddle

The family and I arrived home yesterday. We are all glad to be back home. I’m really glad to get back into my routine. I’m very much a routine/predictable person. I’m really excited to get back to the gym today. I haven’t been in over a week. The really bad news is I ate badly while we were out of town. I didn’t just eat badly, I ate really badly. One night we didn’t eat dinner until 8:30pm or 9:00pm, and then we ate brownies with whip cream for dessert around 11:00pm.

We got back home in time to watch American Idol last night. My wife and I like to watch that show. My boys dance around on the floor while the singers perform. Of course, my favorite part of the show is listening to Simon tell the singers how horrible they are. I love the comment, “I didn’t get that at all.”

I’m going to spend most of the day studying for this weekend’s message. I got a good jump start on the message during the plane ride back to Nebraska on Monday. I’m hoping to get 75 percent of the message done today. I really think this series is going to free so many people from living under legalism and condemnation. Legalism stinks!!! I’ve been super legalistic in the past, but God has used some great church leaders to mentor me and His word to set me free from being a legalistic Christian. I despise legalism!!! Let me say it again; I DESPISE LEGALISM. So many Christians and churches add so many man-made, denominational and cultural rules to living for Christ. All these man-made rules do is put God’s people in bondage and repel the un-churched from surrendering to Christ or even checking out church. Be sure to get as many of your friends and family to church this weekend. I’m sure many of them have experienced legalism in the church and need to be set free. Throughout this series, people are going to experience true freedom in Christ!

Family Trip

Today, Tiffany, Cale, Cade, Caris and I are driving home from Nebraska. We spent a week there visiting Tiffany’s family. Her parents love to see the grandkids, and our kids love to play with their cousins. I actually flew from Nebraska to Illinois to speak on Saturday and flew back to Nebraska on Monday. I’m ready to get back to Oklahoma City today and get back in the saddle. Easter is coming up quickly, and we are planning on having over 2000 people in attendance during that weekend. So I’m anxious to get back and start finalizing our Easter plans for People’s Church.

Things we did in Nebraska:

1. I took Cale and Cade swimming at the hotel pool every morning and even once at night.

2. We went to Valentino Land two times. It’s a place sort of like Chuck E. Cheese. The boys loved it. Dad had a very good time as well. I played Ms. Pacman and Galaxy. I love those old school games. We also threw down some pizza. It’s a great place. We will definitely go back when we’re visiting Tiffany’s family later in the year.

3. We ate at a few restaurants as a family and with Tiffany’s family.

4. I took a few days break from talking with the church office. I told them not to call me or email me for three days. If I don’t do that, I’ll find myself working on things when I should be resting.

5. I got some good ideas for some sermon series for 2008. I’m a big planner and visionary. I live a year or two out all the time. So this was a great trip to dream and think about what God has for People’s Church in the near and distant future.

Weekend

On Sunday, I spoke for a pastor friend and mentor in Illinois. I think it’s my 6th or 7th year in a row to speak for him. It is a very diverse church like People’s Church. We had great services, but I really missed being with my People’s Church family. Speaking God’s word to you on the weekends is my passion. I really can’t wait to see all of you this coming weekend. I have to keep this short, because I have a busy day ahead of me. Have a great Monday!

Final Thoughts on Leadership

I’ve enjoyed writing about some of the lessons that I’ve learned about leadership this week. I want to give you one more lesson I’ve learned, and that’s commitment. Leaders who leave a legacy have an unwavering commitment. Let me give you some things that I have an unwavering commitment to.

1. I’m committed to following Christ all the days of my life.

2. I’m committed to the love of my life, Tiffany, until death do us part.

3. I’m committed to raise my kids in the fear of the Lord and to be a role model they want to follow.

4. I’m committed to pastor People’s Church. If somebody offered me 2 million dollars to do another job, I wouldn’t take the offer, because I’m called and committed to pastor People’s Church. I would ask them to give me the 2 million dollars (ha ha).

I want to encourage you to get committed. You will never leave a legacy and make a huge impact without unwavering commitment. In a world full of uncommitted people, you must be committed. What are you committed to???

Don’t miss this weekend! We’re kicking off the new series Legalism Is Not Legal, a four week study through the book of Galatians. Be sure to set your clocks up one hour before you go to bed Saturday night. Better yet, come to Saturday night services, and sleep in on Sunday!!

Leadership Lessons Pt. 5

15. Make your family a top priority. I refuse to put ministry ahead of my family. I’ve learned that some people say they want me to put my family before the church. In reality, they want me to do what they want more than they want my family to be healthy and a top priority in my life. I will not sacrifice my wife and kids for ministry or people. My number one calling after following Christ is to nurture and love my wife and then my kids. I’m thoroughly convinced that God will build His church, so I’m going to take care of my family and let God do His thing! You be sure to do the same thing!

16. Live a life of balance. I work hard, but I like to play hard and rest hard. There has to be balance in your life. Every year, I learn how much I can push myself without burning out. I realize I have to take a day off every week (actually that’s God’s idea). 90 percent of the time, I do just that. Friday is my day to relax and spend with my family. I realize I can’t speak 5 services every weekend for 52 weekends out of the year. Well, I could, but I would have to retire after 2 or 3 years of that grueling schedule. So I only speak 38 to 44 times a year (this year, I think I’ll speak or lead all 5 weekend services 44 times). That’s still a lot of speaking. This year, I’ll speak 220 times. So I’ve learned for me to be at my very best, I have to rest. I have to take weekends off. I don’t want to speak because I have to; I want to speak because I have to (you’ll figure that last sentence out after you think about it awhile). I want to encourage you to take breaks. Don’t burnout; instead live a life of balance.

17. LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART. Don’t let ministry and people pull you away from your relationship with Christ. Continue to fall in love with Jesus! Jesus is still the best thing that’s ever happened to me! I Love God with my entire life. GOD, YOU’RE STILL MY ALL AND ALL! I LOVE YOU!

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